DmC: Devil May Cry has been under fire from the moment it was first announced along with images of Dante’s revamped look. If one were to generate a word cloud based on descriptions of the antagonist, it wouldn’t have much variety, and “emo” or something similarly meaningless would stand out in bold 48-point font. Now that we’re getting closer and closer to DmC‘s release, though, it’s finally time for the game to speak for itself. For now, we have the newly released demo to go by, and it provides a brief but effective glimpse at what to expect when DmC hits shelves in January.
The demo—available today on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network—includes two levels: Under Watch and Secret Ingredient. The first is a city area you’ve likely seen the most of from both screenshots and videos. It serves as a basic tutorial for controlling Dante in combat and, good news, it plays just as slickly as a Devil May Cry game should. It’s still all about style as Dante slices with his sword, juggles enemies with a hail of gunfire, and ropes them in closer for a few decisive, devastating blows. It doesn’t take long for the demo to make you feel like a seasoned destroyer of demons, and it shows that Ninja Theory knows there’s more to the series’ secret recipe than Dante’s flowing white locks.
It’s fun to tackle the light variety of enemies here, but Under Watch is even better as a showcase for the antagonistic world itself. The environment is as actively aggressive toward Dante as his actual foes; walls cave in, archways contort and collapse as he approaches, and foreboding messages burn themselves into nearly every turn. Naturally, the collapsing world provides plenty of opportunity for platforming, which works for the most part. However, while it’s tough to judge from the demo alone, it does take some getting used to, especially with the somewhat awkwardly mapped air dash command.
The second stage, Secret Ingredient, is a straight up underworld boss fight against an acidic pus-spewing, worm-like demon. After Dante and the boss finish yelling “F**k you!” back and forth, the battle commences, and it’s memorable (and gross) enough to have me looking forward to what else is in store for DmC‘s vile roster of heavy hitters.
Completing the two stages in the demo unlocks the Son of Sparda difficulty, which remixes enemy waves and ramps up their strength. If the handful of encounters in Under Watch are indicative of what’s to come, it should satisfy anyone concerned about DmC not providing ample challenge. The demo also offers up difficulties ranging from Human (easy) to Devil Hunter (normal) and Nephilim (hard).
Whether you like Dante’s new look or not, don’t let that stop you from giving DmC Devil May Cry a fair shot. Ninja Theory has only gotten better over the years—the leap from Heavenly Sword to Enslaved is a perfect example of that—and DmC looks like a step in the right direction for Capcom’s hit-or-miss franchise. Let’s face it, there are only two Devil May Cry games that can really be called great. The first is a classic, the second is utter garbage, the third is a brutally challenging action game, and the fourth is mostly forgettable at this point. Hopefully DmC falls in line with the greats while skillfully carving its own stylish niche in the process.
DmC Devil May Cry hits PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on January 15, 2013.